Itanagar: Search and rescue operations to trace three persons, who went missing after a bridge collapsed in Arunachal Pradesh, were suspended at 4 pm on Wednesday due to poor visibility and a high spate of the river water, an official said.

The persons went missing on Tuesday when a dumper carrying them plunged into a river after the Sangam Bailey suspension bridge, connecting Boleng and Pangin in Siang district, caved in.

The ten-wheeler vehicle was overladen with boulders.

Siang District Disaster Management Officer (DDMO) Tenzin Yanki said that teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) began a search operation with boats, ropes and magnets.

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“The teams searched approximately 400 metres downstream from the accident site and all possible locations.

The depth of the river is around 20 metres at the accident spot and the river is flowing with a strong current,” the DDMO said.

Due to the strong current of the river, there was a possibility that the dumper and the persons could have been washed away downstream, the officer said.

The search and rescue operations will resume on Thursday morning, the DDMO added.

Three occupants of the vehicle, identified as driver Rahul Tamang (22), handyman Ranjit Sutradhar (21) and a labourer Mitinga Boro (19), were missing after the incident, Deputy Commissioner Atul Tayeng had said.

Border Roads Organisation (BRO) sources said the construction of a new bridge would take two months.

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Meanwhile, the district administration is exploring alternative routes till the restoration of the bridge, Tayeng said.

The Sangam Bailey bridge was built in 2001-2002 after the original bridge was swept away by floods in 2000. The bridge is located over the confluence of the Siang and Yomgo rivers and is considered the lifeline of the region.

The bridge also had strategic importance for national security and was used regularly by the Army.

Meanwhile, reports of rainfall triggered landslides blocking all surface communication in the Siang belt are pouring in.

A massive landslide has been reported along the Likabali-Basar road. The road between Pasighat and Dambuk is also stated to be closed for commuters due to road blockades created by landslides.

A section of the Pasighat-Pangin road at Lekek Point had collapsed on June 27.

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